Michael Conlan took the boxing world by storm in his professional debut when he scored a third-round knockout over Tim Ibarra on St. Patrick's Day.
The Irishman fought in front of a sold-out crowd at The Theater in Madison Square Garden and walked into the ring with current UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor.
McGregor has been in the epicenter of the combat sports world due to the talk surrounding a possible bout against boxing legend Floyd Mayweather. A bout appears to be more likely due to McGregor and the UFC agreeing on terms last week for the fight. Dana White will be talking shortly with Mayweather's camp to get the fight secured. McGregor is already making preparations for the anticipated and one of the things he's done is ask Conlan (2-0) to be part of the training camp.
"He’s asked me to come to the training camp when he starts training camp for Mayweather," Conlan told Fightful ahead of last Friday's main event tilt against Alfredo Chanez. 'He’d like me to be a part of the camp. I’m not going to be sparring with him but I’ll be there. Obviously, I’ll give some boxing advice. Maybe I’ll be a coach. We will see how it goes."
Casual and hardcore fight fans have criticized fight saying it makes no sense considering McGregor's never competed in an amateur or professional boxing match and Mayweather is the best boxer of this generation. The 2016 Olympic boxer understand the naysayers' concerns. While Conlan won't go as far to say McGregor will upset Mayweather, he feels the world shouldn't underestimate his fellow Irishman.
"There’s going to be an awful lot of criticism," Conlan explained. "It’s a completely different sport than MMA. But at the same time, he has experience in boxing. He’s not just going into boxing, he’s going to be boxing in the biggest fight. He’s a guy who 100 percent believes. He’s a guy I’ve never seen believe like him when he believes in himself. You can never doubt someone like that. I’m not going to say he’s going to beat Mayweather. I’m not going to say anything like that but at the same time, you can never write anybody off. It’s the sport of boxing. One punch can change a fight."
Much was made when McGregor was in Conlan that the UFC champion took shine away from from the 25-year when after the fight, the new father of a baby son held a short media session which included him screaming, "I am boxing" to ESPN reporter Dan Rafael. Conlan didn't feel bothered by what happened.
"Nah, I don’t think so," Conlan said. "Conor is Conor. Conor does what he does. It didn’t bother me. I don’t think Conor felt it affected me. People can make more of it than what it was but it’s no problem. I had a great night. I had great publicity. I’m happy for Conor. I’m happy for what he’s doing."
Not only is Conlan not bothered by the buzz McGregor created, he feels that at the end of the day, it helped him out.
"100 percent," Conlan stated. "If you add Conor McGregor to anything, it adds and multiplies. He gets people involved. People want to watch. People want to see what’s going on. Once he’s involved, people want to be apart of him. He brings in the paying customer so people want to be with him. I think having him with me and being associated with Conor is fantastic."